Rich Franklin Pulled From UFC 133, Belfort vs. Akiyama Promoted to Co-Main Event

Written by Tom Ngo
July 17th, 2011

UFC Light Heavyweight Rich Franklin

And then there were 11, as in only eleven bouts will now make up the “UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz” roster. After watching Antonio Rogerio Nogueira pull out of his co-featured contest against Rich Franklin with a shoulder injury exactly 21 days before showtime, the company announced Sunday they have decided to call off their search for Little Nog’s replacement.

Instead of finding a last-minute substitute to compete in the August 6th show, the powers that be opted to promote the middleweight shootout between veterans Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama to the card’s co-main event.

Franklin will be shelved for another day.

The City of Brotherly Love is hosting UFC 133, but Philly sure hasn’t shown the card’s 205-pounders much love. Featured fighter Phil Davis bowed out with a knee injury, then Vladimir Matyushenko subsequently withdrew with a wound and last night Nogueira was nixed.

The event takes place inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A light heavyweight rematch between Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz will headline the pay-per-view broadcast.

According to the bout order listed on UFC 133’s official event page, the welterweight tango between Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman was moved to the PPV portion of the festivities.

Here’s a look at the card’s current roster. However, don’t blink because it could change again any second:

Preliminary Bouts:

(Facebook 6PM ET/3PM PT)

Rafael Natal vs. Costantinos Phillippou

Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan

Mike Pierce vs. Johny Hendricks

Nick Pace vs. Ivan Menjivar

(Spike TV 8PM ET/5PM PT)

Rani Yahya vs. Chad Mendes

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Matt Hamill

Main Bouts:

(Pay-Per-View 9PM ET/6PM PT)

Mike Pyle vs. Rory MacDonald

Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara

Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman

Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama

Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz

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